When Alana Thompson exploded onto our screens on an episode of TLC's now defunct Toddlers and Tiaras, no one could've predicted the impact of the no-nonsense little girl and the family circus that revolved around her. But Honey Boo Boo's unique brand of homespun sass, not to mention the charmed national audiences and landed the family with the real pageant prize -- their own reality show -- Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
The show ran for four seasons and detailed the lives of the family in the small town of McIntyre, Georgia. While it maintained decent ratings, it was abruptly canceled when rumors circulated about Mama June reconnecting with a former boyfriend who'd been accused of abusing one of her own daughters. While June claims she never actually started dating the man again, the damage was done... for a little while.
In 2017, after the break-up of her long-term partnership with Mike Thompson (aka ugar Bear), Mama June appeared on the WEtv series, Mama June: From Not to Hot. The show chronicled Mama June's journey to slim down from her once 450 pound frame using exercise, healthy eating and $50,000 of plastic surgery. She brought along another rag-tag group of characters with her, including Sugar Bear, his new fiancé, June's personal manager, and a couple of eccentric trainers.
Here are 15 Secrets Behind Mama June: From Not To Hot You Had No Idea About.
15 JUNE IN A FAT SUIT?
While watching Mama June: From Not to Hot, some fans became skeptical of whether or not June was actually obese when she started the journey. She'd already appeared on Botched to see about getting skin removal surgery after losing 250 pounds, but supposedly she needed to lose more in order to qualify. However, a significant part of the journey was already complete before filming began.
So, some folks on the internet refused to believe that she was as big as she was in some of the before footage. She accused her of wearing a fat suit in some of her early videos because in the interview segments, she can't turn her head fully. We guess fat suits are restrictive that way... Regardless of how truthfully represented her obesity was at the beginning of the show, the end result is certainly genuine.
14 SUGAR BEAR HAS A... UNIQUE CRIMINAL PAST
While far from a hardened criminal in and out of the justice system, Alana's father, Mike Thompson, does have a record -- an interesting one, at that. In 1998, he was sentenced to five years in prison for robbery and arson. One night, he went on a peculiar crime spree that involved robbing several hunting camps, setting them on fire and supposedly also setting an actual camper on fire.
This sounds like it was either alcohol or rage-fueled or both, but make no mistake -- just because you aren't thieving from or setting fire to an actual place of residence, it is still one hundred percent arson to set fire to someone's hunting camp. Part of us really, really wishes this spree had been documented on an episode of COPS, but alas, no luck.
13 THE AWKWARD WEDDING
Part of the endgame of Mama June: Not to Hot was to have June come to her ex Sugar Bear's wedding to Jennifer Lamb to reveal her new body. In theory, unveiling your newfound hotness to an ex who done you wrong would be very victorious, right? We've all fantasized about having a triumphant, "Look at me now and gaze upon that which you may never have again!"
Unfortunately, the reality of the situation wasn't as fun for Mama June as she thought it would be. Supposedly she attended the wedding to support Alana, who was the flower girl. But she realized soon after arriving showing up to the ceremony in a bright red dress was more awkward than triumphant. So much so that "awkward" was the only adjective she used to describe the experience in an interview with Entertainment Tonight earlier this year.
12 JUNE THINKS SUGAR BEAR CHEATED WITH HIS NEW WIFE
This is a giant game of he said, she said, but Mama June and Sugar Bear are in disagreement about when his relationship with Jennifer Lamb began in its romantic capacity. According to Sugar Bear and Lamb, they met at a Wal-Mart and simply exchanged numbers to be friendly. Supposedly, the relationship remained platonic until he left the one he was in with June. Unsurprisingly, June disagrees.
When asked by People magazine if she thought he was faithful, June said, “He can’t keep that thing in his pants for two seconds. I mean the only reason that he’s been faithful to her this long is because he’s not allowed to do anything without her up his a--. The moment that she gives him a minute just to breathe, he’s going to do it again.”
11 JUNE DIDN'T ALWAYS PLAY BY THE RULES
Despite the fact that she did meet her fitness goals, that doesn't mean it was a perfect journey -- it rarely is when for anyone, so obviously for someone as stubborn and set in her ways as Mama June, there were some hiccups. Natasha Fett, one of June's fitness coaches, recalls that June would lie about her activity... even though her movements were recorded on a fitness-tracking app.
According to an interview she gave to the New York Post, Fett got some pretty stories from June from time to time. "She would tell me, ‘I went running at 2 in the morning. I’m like, ‘No June. No you didn’t work out at two in the morning.” Apparently June even went on a long drive once in an attempt to fool the fitness tracker -- it didn't work.
10 HONEY BOO BOO GOT HER OWN WEIGHT INTERVENTION
Alana Shannon, aka Honey Boo Boo, made her spectacular reality television debut on an episode of TLC's Toddler's and Tiaras, and the rest was history. After achieving instant fame with her adorable lack of filter, TLC gave her and her family their own show called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The show was abruptly canceled when reports surfaced Mama June had reconnected with an ex-boyfriend that one of her daughters accused of abuse, but the family's still attempted to stay in the limelight whenever possible.
For example, June, ostensibly worried about Alana's size at such a young age, appeared on an episode of The Doctors to stage a health intervention. While follow-ups revealed that the family hadn't exactly stuck with the proposed nutrition and exercise plan, Alana has started to eat healthier in the wake of her mother's weight loss.
9 GINA RODRIGUEZ'S SECRET PAST
June's longtime friend and manager, Gina Rodriguez, currently runs a management company called GR Media Firm that specializes in reality stars, social media influencers, and celebrity doctors. But before she entered into this venture, she worked in the adult film industry from 2005 - 2010, according to her IMDb page.
However you may feel about that kind of occupation, there's no denying that Rodriguez has certainly propelled whatever success she had in the adult industry into a thriving business today. She represents some pretty well-known people including Scott Disick and Blac Chyna of Kardashians fame, and Kailyn Lowry and Chelsea Houska of Teen Mom fame. And that's leaving out her representation of the entire Shannon family, including Sugar Bear.
8 THE WHOLE SHOW WAS A MASTER REVENGE PLAN
When she started her weight-loss journey, June Shannon made it clear it was, in large part, to show up her ex, Michael Thompson, who'd recently gotten engaged to someone new, Jennifer Lamb. Shannon was pretty clear about her motives, even going so far as to interview on the season finale that that was her original motivation: "This was all about revenge for Sugar Bear, but now it's about something more important. It's about being there for Alana when she walks her father down the aisle."
But, as you can see, revenge didn't stay her only reason for losing weight or going to Sugar Bear's wedding. Alana wanted her parents to get along and she very June to come to the wedding to Alana appear in it. Luckily, both sides were able to make peace for that one afternoon, and June did attend Mike's wedding... for the sake of Alana.
7 ALANA WASN'T ON BOARD
Honey Boo Boo is as independently-minded and stubborn as her mom -- if not more so. So when June needed to totally change her eating habits and switch to healthier foods, Alana didn't react with total support. She quipped on the show, "I'm not jumping on any bandwagon, unless it has like, cheeseburgers and stuff." But, eventually, Alana and one of Shannon's other daughters, Lauryn, came to realize that their mom really needed their support if she was going to succeed.
Speaking to E! News, Lauryn shared her personal feelings: "At first, we didn't want to participate in the fact that she was eating healthy and things like that. But as I went along, we could tell that she really needed the support so me and her both decided that it was just something that we needed to do what support her. So we did the meal plans with her."
6 JUNE COULD APPEAR ON EXTREME COUPONING
June is pretty famously frugal, making use of coupons and other deals despite the fact that her family presumably has a tidy sum of money from all of their reality appearances. In her new home, just like in the old one you saw on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, she has a room that is solely to house the free things she's gotten through couponing.
But she refuses to stop saving because, frankly, she knows she can't afford to. Speaking to the Huffington Post, she sounds pretty resolute. "A lot of people who become famous and they make millions of dollars, they just spend it as soon as they make it — or spend it before they even make it. I’m not going to be like that."
5 MAMA JUNE DOESN'T HAVE FAITH IN SUGAR BEAR'S NEW MARRIAGE
Granted, this could just be sour grapes -- and who could blame her if Sugar Bear and Jennifer Lamb's relationship indeed started while he was still with June -- but June doesn't think this marriage will last. There are a few reasons for this. First, she doesn't think a relationship based on infidelity will last, but she also claims that Sugar Bear's been both emotionally and physically abusive to her and that he has a serious anger problem.
This was supported by the reunion, when he exploded in anger, ripped off of his shirt, and walked off-camera. Lamb claimed she'd never seen him like that before and June warned that the newlywed would play nice for a while and then revert back to his old ways. Time will tell, apparently.
4 THIS ISN'T JUNE'S FIRST ATTEMPT AT TV TRANSFORMATION
In 2016, after having lost an impressive 150lbs on her own, June hit up Terry Dubrow and Paul Nassif on Botched for help removing the excess skin she was dealing with after losing weight. While the doctors really wanted to help her, they revealed that her BMI was too high for her to be a surgical candidate.
A high BMI could pose certain surgical complications for a candidate seeking skin removal, so the doctors instructed June to lose 75 more pounds, after which, they said they'd be happy to help her. While Nassif and Dubrow probably would've made good on that offer, as we all know, June got herself taken care of 2017 by other doctors after losing the rest of the necessary weight. The rest is history!
3 SUGAR BEAR APPARENTLY HAS LITTLE CONTACT WITH HIS DAUGHTER
Folks who were hoping that the acrimony between June and Alana's father, Sugar Bear, on Not to Hot was staged are about to be disappointed. According to an Entertainment Tonight interview with June, things are much much worse off camera than they are on. June describes the show as "a mild version of what's actually [happening] in real life." The biggest problem, and her main beef with him currently, is his lack of involvement in daughter Alana's life.
According to June, it's pretty bad. "He has nothing to do with Alana. They don't see each other at all, they don't call or anything." And Alana isn't any happier about the situation. She says, "He calls me every once in a blue moon. So if there's a blue moon outside, he's going to call me."
2 SUGAR BEAR IS WORKING ON GETTING LEGIT
Mike Thompson, aka Sugar Bear, disputes June's claims that he's not an involved dad for Alana. According to the Not to Hot reunion show, he says June won't let him get in touch with his only daughter, but June says all she wants is for Alana to have a relationship with her father -- if Alana wants to.
However, Thompson is taking measures to ensure that he'll be in a better place to get custody if he wants it. After an explosive turn on the reunion show, he screamed at June that he was working on getting paperwork that would help with custody. This is supposedly legitimization paperwork with the state of Georgia that would legitimize Alana in the eyes of the courts despite her parents never having married.
1 HOUSE ARREST
This was not actual legal house arrest, but it might as well have been. In order to keep her massive transformation a secret for the show, the producers of Not to Hot instructed June Shannon to maintain some serious anonymity before the program aired so as not to spoil the big reveal. However, there was a huge problem with that because, as you know, Shannon isn't huge on doing what people tell her. She's very independent, so not leaving the house to do simple things like running errands started to chafe after a while.
While her kids were able to keep her from going out all the time, there were definitely times when she had to go out for whatever reason, and those times she would cover herself up as much as possible to avoid detection by enterprising paparazzi.
Do you have other Mama June: From Not to Hot trivia to share? Leave it in the comments!